Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out! – Review

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If there happens to be an album with a skull with bisecting arrows in some random color featured on some store’s shelf, there’s little doubt that it comes from the WY-based, four-piece punk band, Teenage Bottlerocket. The group has released five full-lengths, each complete with that logo and a specific color to set the tone of the record (green, pink, yellow, black, etc.) The latest of which is the fourteen track effort, “Freak Out!,” which was produced and mixed by Andrew Berlin earlier this year, featuring the most nauseating of all the color spectrum, pink.

Influenced by punk acts past and present such as Screeching Weasel, The Lillingtons, and Lagwagon, Teenage Bottlerocket has managed to keep things going on their DIY terms and not succumb to the edge-smoothing principles of some punk/pop punk bands today (ie. Banner Pilot, Set Your Goals, etc). The result this time around is a stable of consistently solid and energetic tunes with melodic jumpy riffage and churning percussion. Take the bands first single, “Headbanger,” in which Ray Carlisle relays a story of going to a heavy metal house party and seeing someone head banging so hard, they gave themselves a concussion — further more, being curious why people head bang at all. The track’s 1:59 time runs its course quickly and doesn’t really let you dwell on its copious subjects, much like the rest of the record which jumps around on random topics such as going on the lookout for girls (“Crusin’ For Chicks”), angsty unrequited love (“Done With Love”), and of course finding out who killed your mentor (“Who Killed Sensei?”). The last of which being something I’m sure everyone can relate to.

Freak Out!” and its never-ending swift punk, hearkens listeners back to the prime time days of bands like Millencolin, NoFX, and Lagwagon, when they were both putting out scores of albums, each one with catchy, melodic riffs and basslines. The bands carefree lyrics also give this record a bump, the chorus on “Summertime” really showing it off, “For summertime, when it’s hot as Mexico. We’ll drive around, roll the windows down, turn up the stereo. Yeah it’s summertime.” Not the most transcendent, but that’s not what Teenage Bottletrocket is about — it’s all memorable, energetic punk and random ass song subject matter. Oh and tons of differentiating colors. [Staff]

Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Genre: Punk
RIYL: The Lillingtons, Lagwagon, Millencolin

Track Listing:
1. Freak Out!
2. Headbanger
3. Cruising for Chicks
4. Necrocomicon
5. Maverick
6. Done with Love
7. Punk House of Horror
8. Never Gonna Tell You
9. In the Pit
10. Mutilate Me
11. Who Killed Sensei?
12. Radical
13. Summertime
14. Go with the Flow

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